The Nickel Package: Pro Bowl Redskins?

The Nickel Package: Pro Bowl voting is today: Are any Skins worthy? Also, the two associate head coaches will be back in '07. Should they start to audition some of the younger backup talent on the team?

  1. Al Saunders and Gregg Williams will return. I guess that's good news, right? Listen, the problem on offense has not been Saunders' playcalling per se. But the problem was the underestimation on Joe Gibbs' part as to what kind of adjustment it would take. Also, Saunders and the offense are starting to get a flow. Had it not been for the turnovers last week, people would have focused more on his game plan. He is developing a rhythm with the players; it did take him a while to understand precisely what Gibbs needed and wanted from his offense, it seems. As for Williams, he needs to do a better job of helping the offense. Funny, for a guy whose defense is so attack-oriented, his defenses in the last six years have one thing in common: they make few plays. In Buffalo, they were last or next to last in his three seasons in turnovers caused. And, save for the final five games last season, his defense haven't made many big plays here. Part of the problem is he doesn't stock his defenses with playmakers. However, Williams is a good coordinator. Stability matters. Offensively, they need to stay with the same approach and they should improve. Defensively, they need to change at least a few players, so why change the coaches, too?
  1. Jon Jansen. Hard to imagine someone playing with the kind of pain he has been for the past month or so. Now add a broken thumb on top of that. But Jansen has played well the more his calf has bothered him. He might have to sit out Sunday, but he is most definitely not out for the season. Jansen's effort in the past month should be celebrated.
  1. Pro Bowl voting is Wednesday. OK, does anyone on the Redskins deserve to go to Hawaii? Well, no. Had Jansen played like this all season, I would have picked him. Marcus Washington? Name a play he's made other than dropping INTs. He's been the best player on their defense, but it's a bad defense. Our guess is that Chris Samuels will find his way in the game again, based at least partly on reputation. Samuels has done OK this year, but it's also a lean year at tackle. Which is why it's a shame Jansen was not healthy all year because it would have been a good chance for his first berth. Same with Randy Thomas, who was shafted last year. But it's doubtful the Redskins would get two offensive linemen.

  2. The kids. Don't the Redskins need to know what more of their rookies can do? Of course they do. That's why Rocky McIntosh needs to play more. What does it say about him – and their scouting department – if he can't even get on the field for more than a series or two when the team is out of playoff contention? It says a lot. It's way too soon to write off McIntosh if he doesn't play much over the final three games because he does do well on special teams. But it will make me wonder if they'd still rather play Warrick Holdman – Warrick Holdman! – than McIntosh. He would make mistakes. What difference would it make? While we're at it, give Reed Doughty a shot. We already know Adam Archuleta isn't in the plans. We know that Vernon Fox is a smaller version of Ryan Clark, misses tackles and is not a fulltime starter. We know that Troy Vincent can't stay healthy. Let's find out something about Doughty. We never thought much of him in camp or when they drafted him – too slow for an NFL safety. But he's here, so let's see if he can play.
  1. Kicking game. One of the best developments over the final three games could be Shaun Suisham. That is, if he continues kicking like the other day. Suisham drilled all of his four field goals the other day right down the middle and he showed some length. Also, his kickoffs had more hangtime than the previous week's line drives. I also liked that he was able to kick to a side, something else he didn't show the previous week. Wouldn't it be nice if they could unearth a gem at this position? I have no idea if he is one, but I do know that he bought himself time with Sunday's effort.

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